When we arrived in Sicily
I must say
I did not expect to see
Warnings of such a dire nature.
Such a beautiful and ancient land
Marred by roving herd of terrifying beasts.
“Watch for the signs!” we heard.
“Don’t be fooled by the bright colours!”
“They travel at night – whatever you do, don’t stop your car at night!” came the terrible whisper.
“But what do they want?” I ask, voice querulous and hushed.
“The sea, they want to get to the sea.” came the answer.
“They will run down anything that gets in their way!” one voice told us.
Another voice shuttered, “It happened to my cousin. We couldn’t even recognize him when they were done with his body.”
“But what are they called?”
There was a silence – they were afraid to say the name.
Finally a boy piped up and said, “Manica a vento. Windsocks.”
“Is it never safe?” I queried.
“Oh yes!” they chorused.
One ancient man turned to us and smiled.
“When they reach the sea at night, they curl themselves into a tight roll. In the morning they wake and open up as ombrelloni, beach umbrellas.”
They all sighed with relief.
“Yes, that is when they are content” one man added.
The ancient man looked me in the eye, and with all his years of wisdom he told me, “Then you are safe.”